HACKberry is an open-source 3D-printable bionic arm (i.e. a motorized hand that is controlled intuitively via muscle signals in the residual arm). All the technical data - including 3D CAD file, software code, circuit diagram, and bill of materials - are open-source under Creative Commons license. In this way, private developers around the world can replicate and customize it for people in their local area.
HACKberry will alter the dull ecosystem of the bionic hand. Commercial bionic hands haven’t been around for very long and they still cost more than 15,000 USD. Therefore, market penetration in Japan is only 2%. Since the market for bionic hands is small, the conventional paradigm of manufacturing cannot provide incentives to reduce the price and improve technology. From a business point of view, it is difficult to reduce initial costs and regularly add functions for products that do not sell in large quantities. In contrast, the initial cost of producing HACKberry is zero because the 3D printer doesn’t require casting, and individual makers and designers around the world can continuously upgrade functions with no charge, as the HACKberry is available on an open source platform.
Since its launch in May 2015, many sub-projects have branched out globally, refining the quality of the hand and and leading to the growth of local communities. For example, a child-size version was created in Poland, and a girl in the U.S. received a HACKberry from a local community.
HACKberry and the earlier models (handiii, handiii COYOTE) have received several international design awards including the James Dyson Award in UK, the iF Gold Award in Germany, and the Good Design Award in Japan, which has attracted both developers and potential users to join the open source community.
In May 2013 Genta Kondo, Hiroshi Yamaura, and Tetsuya Konishi [exiii/JP] started to develop affordable and fashionable bionic hands - the handiii, using a 3D printer. In March, 2014 they met Akira Morikawa, the first amputee to test handiii, and decided to start their own company, exiii, after receiving positive feedback. In March 2015, exiii demonstrated the 4th generation model COYOTE with Akira at SXSW, and their project received global media attention. In May 2015, exiii launched the 5th generation model HACKberry. All of its data is open source.